In response to a complex world—shifting global cultures, rapidly evolving technologies, and environmental concerns—the Graduate School of Art offers a two-year, critically engaged studio program that provides a forum for collaboration and both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary study. The program provides a rigorous, experimental environment and intellectual foundation for student artists and grants successful candidates who have completed the necessary program requirements the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art, the terminal professional degree in studio art. The Graduate School of Art subscribes to the standards for the MFA degree as set forth and accepted by the College Art Association of America (CAA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Today's vastly expanded landscape of contemporary creative practices also requires artists to understand various modes of critical analysis. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to investigate the relationship between idea generation and production, and to articulate the conceptual underpinnings of their work. Graduate seminars provide students with the opportunity to study theory through the lens of studio practice, while a robust thesis seminar supports students in their writing and studio-related research.

The Public Lecture Series and various fellows' programs bring nationally and internationally recognized artists, architects, historians, and critics to campus, promoting new ideas in practice, theory, and technology in art, architecture, and design. Invited speakers often come to graduate students' studios for one-on-one reviews of their work.

On a broader scale, the graduate program prepares students to understand contemporary cultural production, to incite progressive social change, to address the challenges of our time, and to assume their roles as global citizens through avenues such as public engagement opportunities and study abroad programs, including the Berlin program. In furthering those objectives, the Graduate School of Art also offers collaborative research, production, and travel grants to enhance learning opportunities outside the university setting.

Weil Hall

The MFA in Visual Art program is located in Anabeth and John Weil Hall. Opened in fall 2019, the new building features over 82,000 square feet for programs, including exceptional spaces for social connections and shared resources for new media production, digital fabrication, critique and review, and installation and exhibition. Each individual studio is approximately 180 square feet and supports work across media. Installation spaces throughout the studios allow students to convene for critiques, student-curated exhibitions, and impromptu gatherings.

The building is home to studios for all of the Sam Fox School’s graduate programs: visual art, architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, and illustration and visual culture. The adjacency between programs promotes camaraderie and exchange across disciplines.